DISAPPOINTED Peter Jackson today reflected on Town's crushing home defeat and told his players: "Now we've got to show what we're made of!"
Jackson admitted last night's 4-1 mugging by new League I leaders Scunthorpe at the Galpharm really hurt, especially as it came in front of a bumper crowd of 14,112.
He is determined, however, not to let one bad result deflect second-placed Town from their ultimate goal with Oldham next on the agenda at Boundary Park a week today.
"To lose like that really hurt, but it's how we respond to the defeat that counts now," said the manager, whose side missed the chance to go four points clear.
"We are going to have highs and lows but we've got to make sure we bounce back from our defeats positively, because we know we've got a good side here.
"I thought we had a lot more of the game last night than the score suggests and that's hard for us all to take, but it's important we pull together.
"Our fans were magnificent last night, they backed us throughout from the first whistle and I was really disappointed for them that we couldn't turn on a show after what had been a big week for the club.
"Going top of the table and me winning Manager of the Month was fantastic, but it's all gone flat with this result and we have to make sure we respond in the right way."
Town's first home defeat of 2005 was their second worst ever at the stadium (Port Vale won 4-0 here in 1998) and came with goals from Peter Beagrie (penalty), Andy Keogh (2) and Matt Sparrow.
Pawel Abbott hit back from the spot with his seventh goal of the season, but the result left five clubs within sniping distance of Town ahead of today's fixture list.
"I was bitterly disappointed with the penalty decision against us, especially as the lads felt Billy Sharp was offside and that it wasn't a foul by Paul Rachubka in any case," added Jackson.
"People will make their own judgements on the way the referee (Carl Boyeson) handled the game.
"I can't say too much about him otherwise it will land me in trouble with the Football Association.
"But I think he has to look at his own performance, that's all I can say."
Jackson reported no injuries from the match and told his squad to report back for training on Monday.
Tom Clarke joined up with the England Under 19 squad today before their match against Belgium on Tuesday at Darlington (7.30).